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Nonprofitxpress roundup – Law could limit sex-abuse deals

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Compiled by Donnie Stanley

Here are the latest nonprofit headlines:

*The Archdiocese of Boston could pay no more than $20,000 for each of its sex-abuse settlements if courts decide a 1971 Massachusetts law capping judgments that charities pay protects the church from priests’ actions, The Washington Post reported May 17. 

*Officials of United Way of the National Capital Area concede they routinely inflated fundraising totals – possibly by more than $2.5 million a year — by claiming to have collected and distributed corporate contributions in which they played no role, The Washington Post reported May 21.

*The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation bought stock, valued at $205 million, in nine drugmakers, including Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Pfizer Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported May 17. The move could raise questions, the Journal said, because Gates strongly backs limits on sharing drugmakers’ proprietary knowledge.

*The Eisner Foundation, created by Disney chief Michael Eisner and his wife, gave $7 million to California State University-Northridge to create a new teaching-learning

center. The center will use the Schools Attuned teaching method developed by All Kinds of Minds, a North Carolina teaching institute founded by Mel Levine, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

*Opera lovers Margot and Bill Winspear gave $42 million for the creation of the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, The Dallas Morning News reported May 14. It is the largest philanthropic gift in the city’s history.

*The National City Bank and the Cleveland Foundation have created the National City Charitable Gift Fund, which will allow donors to direct funds to charities of their choice, The Plain Dealer reported May 12.  

*Philanthropist Alberto Vilar, who has donated or pledged $250 million to charity since 1999, is trying to honor his pledges in the face of plunging stock values for Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc., the firm he founded and heads, The Wall Street Journal reported May 21. 

*Senate Republicans, farmers and business owners are increasing their efforts to convince Congress to make the estate-tax repeal permanent, while Democrats and some wealthy Americans, such as William Gates Sr. and Warren Buffett, are reviving their effort against repeal, saying it would sharply reduce charitable giving, the Financial Times reported May 16 and The Wall Street Journal reported May 22.

*The Ford Foundation, for the 50th anniversary of its New Delhi office, gave $45 million in grants to help ease poverty and social inequalities in India.  The foundation has given nearly $450 million to the country over the last 50 years.

*The nonprofit sector is the fastest-growing source of jobs in New York City, according to a study financed by The Atlantic Philanthropies, The New York Times reported May 22. Employment growth among the city’s 9,078 nonprofits grew 25 percent during the 1990’s, compared to 4 percent for the city overall.

*To cut its taxes, help manage its assets and minimize the impact of the stock market’s volatility, The Pew Charitable Trusts will distribute grants in equal monthly installments, rather than in larger yearly, biannual or quarterly payments, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported May 23.

* To make genetically altered foods more palatable to consumers, many wealthy agricultural biotechnology companies, including Monsanto Co. and Syngenta AG, are creating charitable foundations, assisting subsistence farmers and donating patents, The Washington Post reported May 23. 

*The Senate Finance Committee will reintroduce a bill that could give tax breaks for charitable deductions to individuals who do not itemize deductions, along with two other provisions to offset the lost tax revenue, The Washington Post reported May 22.

*Portfolio assets fell at 19 of the top 25 Kansas City charitable trusts and foundations, reducing overall total giving this year, as a result of the stock market downturn in 2000 and 2001, The Business Journal reported May 24.

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